Bringing Scholarship Back to Middle East Studies

Oct. 27 2016

The War on Error: Israel, Islam, and the Middle East contains 25 essays by the historian Martin Kramer on a variety of topics. Jonathan Marks notes that underlying these pieces, some of which were first published in Mosaic, is Kramer’s commitment to pursuing the truth through rigorous scholarship, even when he himself admits he is far from dispassionate about the subject matter. In one essay, Kramer dismantles an unfounded claim made repeatedly by the Columbia historian and Edward Said protégé Rashid Khalidi—and, in doing so, makes the contrast between himself and so many in his field especially stark:

In 2010, Khalidi spread in more than one lecture the claim that the influential novel Exodus, though written by Leon Uris, was “carefully crafted propaganda” guided by “seasoned professionals.” Foremost among them was Edward Gottlieb, regarded by some as “one of the founders of the modern public-relations industry.” . . . There is only one problem: not one thing Khalidi says, in his role as distinguished historian, appears to be true. . . . [T]he story is a fabrication, one anti-Israel authors are so desperate to believe that they rely on an ancient public-relations how-to [manual] without checking the story. . . .

[In other words, Khalidi] showed himself [to be] “someone eager to repeat and embellish a story simply because of its political utility, without even a cursory check of its historical veracity.”

Khalidi’s canard is an example of, in Kramer’s words, “fantasies of Jewish power and control” finding their way into respectable realms of academia.

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Read more at Scholars for Peace in the Middle East

More about: Academia, Edward Said, History & Ideas, Leon Uris, Martin Kramer, Middle East, Rashid Khalidi

 

Don’t Expect the Jerusalem Summit to Drive a Wedge between Russia and Iran

June 14 2019

Later this month, an unprecedented meeting will take place in Jerusalem among the top national-security officials of the U.S., Israel, and Russia to discuss the situation in Syria. Moscow is likely to seek financial aid for the reconstruction of the war-ravaged country, or at the very least an easing of sanctions on Bashar al-Assad. Washington and Jerusalem are likely to pressure the Russian government to reduce the presence of Iranian forces and Iran-backed militias in Syria, or at the very least to keep them away from the Israeli border. But to Anna Borshchevskaya, any promises made by Vladimir Putin’s representatives are not to be trusted:

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Politics & Current Affairs, Russia, Syrian civil war